Let us begin with something that is obvious. When people smoke in public, for me that is a sign of disrespect. The smoker does not respect his own body; and does not respect the body of other people around him.
Health begins with respect for the human body. One of the true characters of a mature and empowered person is his commitment to respect himself and respect others. And that attitude extends first and foremost to the human body.
There are physical, social, and spiritual reasons that support this respect for the body.
Physically, we respect our body because it is the only one we got. It is the true test of self-respect when you avoid anything that will harm the body – drug abuse, alcohol, reckless driving, and smoking are the obvious ones. But the little things count – the number of hours you allow your body to sleep and rest, the quality and quantity of the food that you eat, and, even the company that you keep.
Socially, we respect our body because other people care for us and they will be hurt if something bad happens to us. Our family and loved ones will probably be devastated if we die young so we want to take care and respect our body out of our respect for others.
Spiritually, we respect our body because we respect LIFE. We consider life as gift from a Great Source which some of us call God, or Allah, or Jehovah. It doesn’t matter whatever you call it. In the Christian tradition, we are a Word Made Flesh – and our respect for that what is bigger than us is manifested by our respect for our body.